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Delayed graft function (DGF) is commonly believed to adversely impact both short- and long-term renal allograft function. Because immunosuppressive therapy is commonly altered after DGF is identified, retrospective analyses are difficult to interpret. We therefore prospectively sought to examine the natural history of DGF in a controlled patient population under identical immunosuppressive protocols.Adult patients undergoing cadaveric renal transplantation were treated with sequential triple drug immunotherapy. High-dose steroids were administered in the operating room and rapidly tapered to 20 mg prednisone by post-operative day (POD) 6. Cyclosporine (CsA) microemulsion was begun on POD 1, and dosed asymmetrically at 12-h intervals to reach a daytime Cav of 650 ng/mL (utilizing 2-h and 6-h levels), while PM doses were adjusted to an AM trough of 300 ng/mL. Mycophenolate (1000 mg q12 h) was added on POD 3 in most patients and discontinued after 3 months. No induction agents were used. All patients were followed for at least 6 months.Sixty consecutive patients received 64 allografts (four double grafts). In all, 17 patients required dialysis and were considered to have DGF. Eight of these patients received marginal organs turned down by at least one other centre. Cold ischaemia time was significantly longer in patients with DGF (24 h vs. 19 h, P < 0.01) All patients were treated as planned and there were no major protocol violations. One patient had primary non-function and was excluded from analysis. CsA trough and Cav values were similar between groups. Mean serum creatinine levels (mg/mL) fell more slowly in patients with DGF but there was no significant difference by 3 months (1.7 vs. 1.5) and the creatinine clearance was not significantly different between the groups after 1 year (71 cm3/min in DGF vs. 61 cm3/min, P = 0.13). Our data demonstrate that alterations in routine immunosuppressive strategies may not be necessary to achieve equivalent outcomes in patients with DGF.